Air frying has gotten so popular! But, what is the difference between air frying and deep frying? Learn the benefits and drawbacks of air frying over deep frying. 

A white plate filled with fried chicken drumsticks.

Overview of Air Frying

Air frying is a relatively new cooking method that has become popular in recent years. Air fryers are small kitchen appliances that use hot air for cooking food. The hot air circulates the food, cooking it quickly and evenly.

Air fryers are similar to convection ovens, but they cook food faster. Additionally, air fryers can cook small quantities of food, which is perfect for single servings or small families. 

Overview of Deep Frying

Deep frying is a cooking method that involves immersing food in hot oil. A traditional deep fryer is a kitchen appliances that is specifically designed for deep frying at high temperatures.

Deep frying cooks food quickly and evenly, and deep frying is excellent for large quantities of food. However, deep frying can be messy and uses a lot of oil and yields crispy food with a high fat content. 

Additionally, deep fried foods have been known to be unhealthy as they tend to be higher in calories and trans fats, especially if you order them from fast food restaurants.

Benefits of Air Frying Over Deep Frying

There are several benefits of air frying over deep frying: 

1. Air-fried foods are generally healthier than deep-fried foods.

Because air fryers use hot air for cooking food, there is no need for oil.

This means that air-fried foods are often lower in fat and calories than deep-fried foods. Over time, this can lead to less heart disease in some people.

2. Air fryers are not as messy as deep fryers.

When you use an air fryer, there is no need to deal with hot oil. This can make your kitchen cleaner and safer.

When using an air fryer, you’ll use a lot less oil than a deep fryer. This will also save you money.

3. Air fryers are easier to clean than deep fryers.

Because no oil is involved, air fryers are much easier to clean than deep fryers (and many other cooking methods). 

In most cases, you just need to wipe down the inside of the air fryer when you’re done cooking. With a deep fryer, you’ll have to get rid of the extra oil over time.

4. Air fryers take much less time to cook food than deep fryers.

Because air fryers cook food quickly and evenly, you can save time by cooking with an air fryer. It’s a clear winner when it comes to the ease of the cooking process.

5. Air fryers are more versatile than deep fryers.

You can use an air fryer for cooking a wide variety of foods, including chicken, fish, vegetables, and even desserts. 

See my full list of healthy, gluten-free air fryer recipes.

Drawbacks of Air Frying Over Deep Frying

While there are several benefits of air frying over deep frying, there are also some drawbacks: 

1. Food cooked in an air fryer does not have an authentic fried flavor.

So if you are looking for that classic fried flavor, you will be disappointed with air-fried food.

2. You need a particular appliance to air fry food, whereas you can fry food without a deep fryer in a skillet or a pot of oil.

If you do not have an air fryer, you will not be able to air fry food unless you have a special air frying oven which can be expensive.

See my list of the best air fryers under $100.

3. Air fryers can take up a lot of counter space.

If you have a small kitchen, an air fryer may not be the best option because it can take up a lot of counter space. 

There is just no way around it – air fryers are big and bulky whereas you can deep fry foods in a large pot on your stovetop.

4. Air frying is not suitable for large quantities of food.

If you are cooking for a large group of people, air frying may not be the best option because it is challenging to cook large quantities of food in an air fryer. 

Even the largest air fryers will have a limited capacity and can likely not make more than 4-6 servings of food at a time.

5. Deep-fried foods always use cooking oil, so they always end up very crispy on the outside while maintaining a moist and juicy interior.

On the other hand, air-fried foods do not always end up as crispy as deep-fried foods.

People often confuse air fryers with deep fryers, but the cooking technique is quite different. Air fryers will offer only about 10% of the crispiness that deep frying can achieve.

6. Some air fryers can be noisy.

An air fryer may not be the best option if you are looking for a quiet kitchen appliance. 

They have a fan that circulates the hot air and that fan tends to be quite noisy with the hot air circulation of the convection oven.

White air fryer open and the basket is filled with fries.

Price Comparison of Air Frying Vs. Deep Frying

Air fryers are generally more expensive than deep fryers. However, the price difference between air fryers and deep fryers varies depending on the brand and model. 

Most air fryers cost approximately $100, but prices often range from $50 to $200 or more. Deep fryers typically cost $40 to $200 or more, with a wide variety of models available for $50 to $60.

When using a deep fryer, you also need to consider the price of oil. You must use oil with it, typically in large quantities, so that extra cost can add up quite a bit. See my list of the healthiest cooking oils.

On the other hand, air fryers use very little oil or no oil at all, so you don’t have to factor in that extra cost.

White deep fryer with open lid and fried chicken inside.

Air Fryer Vs. Deep Fryer FAQs

Does air-fried chicken taste the same as fried chicken?

No, air-fried chicken breast does not taste the same as fried chicken. Fried chicken has a distinct flavor and crispness that is created by the cooking oil.

Air-fried chicken does not have this flavor or crispy texture because it is cooked without oil or with just a little bit of oil. 

Can I use my air fryer to deep fry?

No, you cannot use your air fryer to deep fry. Air fryers work by circulating hot air around the food. Deep fryers work by submerging food in hot oil. 

What are the best foods to cook in an air fryer?

Some of the best foods to cook in an air fryer include chicken, fish, vegetables, and even desserts. Some other foods that cook well in the air fryer are chicken wings, french fries, and more!

See my list of the best healthy air fryer recipes.


So, which is better? Air fryers or a deep fat fryer? The answer to this question depends on your personal preferences. An air fryer is the better choice if you are looking for a healthier option to cook without much oil.

A deep fryer is the better choice if you want an authentic fried flavor or deep fried food. On the other hand, an air fryer is the better choice if you are looking for an appliance that is easy to use and clean. Ultimately, the best option for you will depend on your individual needs and preferences.

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About the Author: Carrie Forrest has a master’s degree in public health with a specialty in nutrition. She is a top wellness and food blogger with over 5 million annual visitors to her site. Carrie has an incredible story of recovery from chronic illness and is passionate about helping other women transform their health. Send Carrie a message through her contact form.

Note: this post is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. Please consult your healthcare provider for recommendations related to your individual situation.